Canadians brave -30C to celebrate winter cycling
Ice, what ice? Riders turn out in force to defy weather
A return to chilly temperatures and snowfalls this weekend might be an incentive to keep your bike in the garage - unless you're Canadian.
Almost 200 cycling fans in Saskatoon, Saskatchewan, turned up for the town's first Ice Cycle event this week, braving temperatures of -30 C to show that riding doesn't need to stop in winter.
Riders came out in a variety of costumes – including bright pink tutus – while others carried boom boxes and dressed in full ski gear.
“I think it’s good to point out that this is a legitimate form of transportation in the winter,” city councillor Charlie Clark told the StarPhoenix. “Sure it’s cold, but you can have a lot of fun here.”
Clark said Saskatoon riders are astounding neighbouring North America by embracing cycling on snow-covered streets. He was in the US cycling capital of Portland recently, and said residents were impressed in Portland that there were people in Saskatoon who ride year-round. “It’s not just young, 20-year-old men who do it, but it’s a whole demographic,” he added. “They thought it was just bizarre.”
After a parade through downtown, cyclists gathered at River Landing to celebrate with live music and hot drinks.
Before the parade, riders took part in a winter cycling workshop. A city bus was also parked on site so riders could learn how to use the bike racks.
The event was hosted at the Saskatoon Farmers’ Market at River Landing and capped off Saskatoon’s annual WinterShines festival.
“I think it’s just a great way to celebrate and embrace winter, and get over the idea that winter has to be an endurance test in Saskatoon,” Councillor Clark said. “There’s a lot of very bold people who know they can come out and have fun and make the best of it.”
The I Heart Bike Lanes group plans to host another ride in June, with hopes of breaking a world record for the largest number of cyclists in attendance.